“Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this” (Jer. 9:9)? These are the sobering words of the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, to the sinful nation of Israel. But they are also a sobering message to the Church and our own nation.
These words reveal our sad, sad condition. They reveal the true condition of every human heart, which has been effected by Adam’s sin. It reveals the condition of the Church, drifting away from its moorings and heritage. It reveals the state of the nation, a nation settled by the Pilgrims and Puritans, godly men and women whose influence is largely banished to the textbooks of history. The spiritual awakenings that gripped our nation are a thing of the distant past as materialism, sensuality, and self have become god in our churches and in our land. Sin is pervasive in every area of society, from the political to the social sphere, from the economic sphere to the familial sphere, from the moral to the ecclesiastical spheres, our society is saturated with sin. And the question is why? In Jeremiah’s time it was because the children of Israel had lost their witness. In our day, isn’t it because the Church has lost its witness?
And because the Church has lost its witness, the Church and the nation are ripe for impending judgment. We have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. We have received numerous warnings that have gone unheeded. We have become morally depraved. There is latent persecution of Christians. The ministry and ministers of the nation have come under attack. There is a spirit of turning away from God. We call evil good, living in a state of confusion. And all around us are warnings of God to turn and repent. There is a litany of judgment calls in the recent past: the World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine school shooting, the bombing of the USS Cole, September 11, 2001, the Washington sniper, the Colorado theater shooting, the Newtown tragedy, the Boston Marathon bombings, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the 2008 financial meltdown, 55 million babies murdered since Roe v. Wade, and the Oklahoma tornadoes. And there is still no repentance. And what is the Lord’s message to us, “Shall I not visit them for these things? Saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?”
What then is the solution? Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered (Jer. 8:22)? Is there no hope for the Church and the nation in which we live and which we love? Our first and only hope is God. In Him, we find salvation and restoration. In Christ, we find that judgment has been exhausted against sin for those who trust in Him. He is the only hope of the Church and the only hope of the nation. That calls for repentance, conversion and bending the knee before this great and mighty God. God calls us to commit ourselves to spiritual growth upon repentance and faith. God calls us to plead His promises for mercy, to remember mercy in the midst of wrath (Hab. 3:2). Our church and our nation are laid in God’s balance. Flee for mercy from the wrath to come.
-adapted from a sermon preached by Dr. Beeke on the National Day of Prayer, May 2, 2013